The NPP may or may not realize this, but the current turmoil in the party is nothing short of an existential threat. This is not your normal internal wrangling that happens, from time to time, in every political party.
This is a party in mortal danger. And the remedy for this grave political crisis is not more legalism and more recitation and invocation of provisions of the party constitution. This is not the time for "I know my rights" and "Article 123 says this".
Too much of this legalism and the intransigence it naturally begets are partly responsible, in the first place, for why the current factionalism in the party, which has been allowed recklessly to simmer and fester for far too long, has finally reached breaking point.
This is a political, not a legal or constitutional, crisis. And it demands adroit political management and acumen.
There will be time, once the immediate crisis has been brought under control, for the party, informed by this experience, to take another look at its corporate governance structures and arrangements and make appropriate changes. But that time is not now.
What the party needs immediately is a truce, a cease-fire, a cooling of tempers and emotion, a restraining of egos, a retreat from the precipice, while the responsible actors work to resolve the crisis with the corporate and long-term interest of the party in mind. And to do that requires courage and statesmanship from the protagonists and patrons of the various factions in this feud, be they real or imagined.
It also calls for restraint and maturity from their agents and footsoldiers, those persons whose utterances and whispering campaigns, on local and social media and elsewhere, have contributed in no small measure to the mutual mistrust and bad blood that fuel the current state of affairs.
This is not the time for you to display publicly your loyalty to one or the other faction by trying to outdo your fellow party member in your ability to trade accusations and invective or to spin one conspiracy theory after another.
Already far too many people, including, regrettably, persons who otherwise would be best placed to mediate and resolve this rift, have been drawn, willingly or unwillingly, into this feud or been forced to take sides. With honest brokers in short supply, it would be best if party insiders and rank and file did not worsen matters by continuing to give life to this internecine feud.
This crisis is not just an NPP problem. It is a national crisis, because the very health of Ghana's democracy is at stake. A strong and effective opposition party, one that takes seriously its job of keeping an eye on government and is itself capable of replacing the governing party at the polls, offers the only credible prospect of "checks and balances" in our already poorly-balanced, winner-takes-all political system.
We cannot afford to have a mortally fractured opposition and, for that matter, de facto one-party rule. We have come too far along this as-yet unfinished journey to reverse course and start all over again. For the sake of Ghana, the NPP must get its act together and its house in order. And the time to do so is NOW.
Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh
May 28, 2015.
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